NTT DATA Using AI Diagnostic Imaging Technology to Increase Access to Tuberculosis Examinations for 100,000 People in India

Advanced technology used to contribute to UN’s Sustainable Development Goals

January 29, 2021
NTT DATA Corporation

January 29, 2021, TokyoNTT DATA Corporation, a leading digital business and IT services provider, in cooperation with the AI for Health1 program from Microsoft Corporation through its strategic investee company DeepTek Medical Imaging Pvt Ltd2 hereinafter referred to as "DeepTek”, in January 2021 began providing support for improved access to tuberculosis diagnoses for 100,000 people in India. This initiative, the first measure for social action in the strategic collaboration3 between the two companies that begun in June 2020, aims to stop the spread of tuberculosis, which is one of the targets in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 4, through support for early detection and treatment for patients in India by providing free access to NTT DATA’s AI diagnostic imaging technology and Microsoft’s Microsoft Azure cloud service.

Background

Tuberculosis (TB) is one of the top ten causes of death worldwide, claiming 1.4 million lives in 20195. Ending the TB epidemic by 2030 is one of the health targets of the SDGs. One of the challenges to eradicating TB is the lack of opportunities to make a diagnosis and the delay in detection, which leads to greater severity for individual patients and further spread of the disease. Early detection of TB patients in areas with poor access to health care is critical.
NTT DATA has been conducting research, development, and verification testing for AI diagnostic imaging technology, and has adopted the principle of contributing to society through its business activities as part of its management strategy. The Company has agreed with Microsoft to cooperate with its AI for Health program, and to contribute to society through efforts to eradicate tuberculosis and other infectious diseases.
As the first step in this cooperation effort, NTT DATA via DeepTek has begun providing support to improve access for TB examinations in India, which has the most TB patients in the world, using a medical examination vehicle.

Project Overview

NTT DATA’s Indian partner firm DeepTek provides AI diagnostic imaging technologies to hospitals and other institutions. In cooperation with DeepTek, NTT DATA plans to install this system in a medical examination vehicle able to travel to various regions, and by linking it with Microsoft Azure, enhance access to TB exams for people in the Chennai region of India.
Chennai is working to locate TB patients in regions where access to medical care is difficult. This project will use a medical examination vehicle to visit such regions, take X-ray images and analyze them using AI diagnostic imaging technologies. Patients suspected of having TB are then given sputum exams, with the aim of early detection.

Fig. 1: X-ray medical examination vehicle in Chennai, India

Fig. 2. Testing process

Region : Chennai, India
Scale : Support for improved access to TB exams for around 100,000 people
Period : January 2021 to March 2022
Collaborative Organization : Project owner: Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC)
Technology providers: DeepTek with support from NTT DATA, Microsoft

Endorsements

Greater Chennai Corporation

Dr.Jagadeesan, City Health Officer of Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) commented, “AI enabled X- Ray screening has helped us substantially improve the yield of identifying TB suspects. We are satisfied with the technology provisioned by DeepTek, and sincerely appreciate their and their partner's support.

Microsoft

Juan Lavista Ferres, General Manager and Lab Director of the AI for Good research lab at Microsoft said, “I am pleased and humbled to partner with NTT Data and DeepTek through this project to overcome societal challenges brought through tuberculosis as we all strive towards the mission of the Indian government to eliminate tuberculosis (TB) by 2025. Our mission to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more guides everything we do, every product we build and every technology we incubate. How we show up with our customers is also driven by a deep sense of this mission.”

About AI Diagnostic Imaging Solutions

NTT DATA has been pursuing research and development on AI diagnostic imaging technology to address the global shortage of radiologists able to diagnose medical images such as X-rays and CT scans, and conducting verification testing at hospitals around the world6,7.

Fig. 3: Screen of AI Diagnostic Imaging Solution

Future Goals

NTT DATA, based on the results of this program, will support TB diagnosis efforts in other regions beyond Chennai. The Company also plans to pursue measures to treat other illnesses, such as supporting the response to COVID-198.

Notes

  1. AI for Health is a program launched by Microsoft in January 2020 that aims to use artificial intelligence (AI) to support researchers and research organizations to improve the health of people and communities around the world.
    https://blogs.microsoft.com/on-the-issues/2020/01/29/ai-for-health-child-mortality/
  2. DeepTek, headquartered in India, is a startup firm that provides AI medical image diagnostic solutions and remote radiographic image interpretation services. NTT DATA has invested in the company and is strengthening cooperation.
  3. The strategic collaboration with Microsoft is based on the strategic alliance concluded between NTT Corporation and Microsoft Corporation in December 2019.
    https://www.nttdata.com/global/en/Media/Press Release/2020/June/ntt-data-and-microsoft-announce-strategic-collaboration
  4. SDGs Goal 3 Target 3.3: “By 2030, end the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and neglected tropical diseases and combat hepatitis, water-borne diseases and other communicable diseases.”
    https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/health/
  5. Global tuberculosis report 2020
    https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/9789240013131
  6. Press release: “NTT DATA's AI-based Diagnostic Imaging Support Solution Aiding COVID-19 Diagnoses”
    https://www.nttdata.com/global/en/media/press-release/2020/june/ntt-datas-ai-based-diagnostic-imaging-support-solution
  7. Press release: “NTT DATA Conducts Verification Testing for AI Diagnostic Imaging with Iwate Medical University” (Japanese)
    https://www.nttdata.com/jp/ja/news/release/2020/052901/
  8. Coronavirus disease 2019

*All names of products, companies, and organizations are trademarks or registered trademarks of those companies.

Contacts

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NTT DATA Corporation
Public Relations Department
Contact person: Tanaka
Tel: 050-3644-3022

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NTT DATA Corporation
Technology and Innovation General Headquarters
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Contact persons: Oikawa, Tashiro
Tel: 050-5546-2308

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